And, he knows how to ride them. Fast. I had heard of Lee McCormack from a few of my fellow mountain bike racers. He’s literally written the book on mountain bike technique. And, sad to say, that’s something that I have relatively little of. True, I grew up mountain biking, but aside from the basics (working your gears, when to brake, etc) I never really learned how to Ride a bike (capital R). So, I contacted Lee to see if he could help me.
He very enthusiastically said that he could. We agreed to meet at the Valmont Bike Park to go through some basic technique type stuff with plans for later sessions to get more detailed. I don’t want to give away Lee’s secrets, but will touch on a few highlights that I gleaned from our sessions together.
First, Lee and I are kindred nerd spirits. He explained the science of cornering using angles and respective G-forces. But then he switches to describing the kung-fu of turning and how to work your bike and take advantage of gravity to get some ‘free speed’ as he calls it. We graduated from doing figure eights in the parking lot, to tackling the pump track. The way Lee describes it, every trail is a pump track. That log you want to hop over, you pump it. That rocky drop you want to get down, you pump it. And, essentially that’s what we did. After the pump track, we went over to some boulders to practice going up, over, and down them. Then it was drops. Then it was the wooden stairs. Then back to the bigger drops. And finally, where did we end up to bring it all home? The pump track.
The sessions with Lee were awesome. His enthusiasm combined with his scientific, yet at times spiritual, way of teaching is inspiring. I have a lot better understanding of how to move my bike and I can see how the skills Lee teaches will make me a significantly better bike Rider. I just have some bad habits to un-learn. Some of my favorite Lee-isms that I have to remind myself of are: “be aggressive, not apologetic”, “heavy feet, light hands”, “push, pull!”, “Lower!!”, and of course “fun, IS fast”.
Thanks Lee. Can’t wait to become a kung fu bike Rider:)